Today I am going to post some helpful tips for really getting into your powerhouse. Everyone is different on how fast they really feel their powerhouse connection while doing Pilates exercises or just getting that scooping feeling your instructor is talking about.
You always want to feel like you are still able to breathe. So sucking it in so much you are holding your breath is not the feeling you are going for. Try lying on your back place your hands on your belly,and take in a nice deep breath expanding your lungs all directions. You should feel like your rib cage is also expanding front to back and side to side. As you start your exhale draw your navel slightly inward toward the floor and slightly upwards towards the crown of your head. Your belly should feel deflated. Even if it's only slightly that's good it will get better I promise. You have to retrain the neuromuscular pathways. So it takes some time. You can also imagine you are putting on a really tight pair of pants and have to suck it in and up so you can zip it up, or you just pulled them out of the dryer and the button is super hot. Which makes you hold it in so that you don't burn your belly. Mindful that you are still breathing;)
You want to practice this multiple times daily until you finally make a habit of engaging your powerhouse all the time. Practice lying down, sitting at your desk, driving your car and standing in line.